Book: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
Outrun the Moon was EVERYTHING and more! It definitely lived up to the hype and is a stellar sophomore novel from Stacey Lee.
Mercy Wong is strong, independent, and clever. The first half of the book shows Mercy fighting against the systemic racism of San Francisco in 1906 as she tries to enroll at St. Clare’s School for Girls. Lee created a definitely true-to-life portrayal of the city during 1906. I loved learning more about Chinese culture and Chinatown.
The second half of the book addresses the devastating earthquake that hit San Francisco; the aftermath is absolutely horrific as Mercy’s life comes crashing around her like the rest of the city did. The group of girls we meet in the first half of the book at St. Clare’s are each a unique person representing different experiences during the earthquake aftermath. Mercy becomes so much stronger and Outrun the Moon was everything I could have asked for.
Every moment is so detailed and comes to life in Stacey Lee’s voice. Her writing is a masterpiece and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!
Rating: 5 stars